Police officers throughout Pulaski County will soon be a little safer after receiving funding for new protective gear.

Almost every city’s police department as well as the sheriff’s office received preliminary approval to receive vests, service weapons and ammo from the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD), thanks to grants totaling $42,383.

Grant approvals were as follows: The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department received $7,070 for seven deputy vests, six service weapons and 12 cases of ammo; Eubank received $2,428 for two officer vests, two service weapons and five cases of ammunition; Burnside received $4,388 for one officer vest, five service weapons and eight cases of ammo; Science Hill received $2,428 for two officer vests, two service weapons, and five cases of ammo; and the City of Somerset received approval in the amount of $26,069 for six officer vests, 12 service weapons, and 111 different cases of various types of ammunition.

The only city which did not receive any such funding was Ferguson, which did not need any new equipment.

This came about after Sheriff Todd Wood spoke with Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock about bolstering the equipment of his own law enforcement agency. However, as Bullock’s staff developed the grant proposal, the decision was made to contact other cities and extend the opportunity to have their needs taken care of as well.

“I was pretty excited,” said Bullock of first hearing Pulaski law agencies had received their grants. “I couldn’t wait to contact the mayors to let them know they were all approved.”

Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said that he was extremely pleased on behalf of the City of Somerset and thankful to Bullock and his staff.

“(The equipment) will be well-utilized and is needed,” said Girdler.

Currently, Somerset does not have enough equipment to meet its needs, according to Girdler, and the funding should raise the city up to ideal standards. Somerset should be able to get the vests and the rest of the equipment within 30 days.

“We’re grateful,” said Girdler, “as the equipment will protect lives and possibly save lives.”

Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said that the grant certainly provides a great financial boost to the department. He said the grant will provide full-time deputies with new ballistic vests and all 26 full-time officers with a backup weapon.

“We appreciate the tremendous assistance (from Bullock’s office),” said Wood, who added that he is also appreciative of Chief Deputy Larry Wesley, who not only worked on writing this grant but has also done so in the past.

Science Hill Mayor William “Bill” Dick said that with the equipment, his city will be able to get Police Chief Robbie Gossett up to date — and also Shawn Dobbs, who will be joining the force in the coming months.

“We’re proud to have been a part of making this happen for our law enforcement officers in Pulaski County,” said Bullock, acknowledging that they couldn’t have done it without the Governor’s office.

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